Tag Archive | Encouragement

Blog Series: Encouragement From Marrieds To Singles (Kelly Evans)

Me: How long were you single?

Kelly: I got married when I was 34, so 34 years!

Me: When you think back on your time of singleness what is one word you would use to describe that time and why?

Kelly: One word: mine. I want to say “adventurous” because I did enjoy being on the go and doing things that were out of the box and a little risky.  I want to say “free” because I could go wherever, whenever I wanted, the way the world views “free”.  I chose the word “mine” because those other adjectives describe marriage too. Singleness was mine because that’s just it, it was mine.  It didn’t belong to anyone else, it belonged to me.  Views that were mine, my walk with God, what God wanted to do through me, the enjoyments that were mine, friendships that were mine, the family that was mine, time that was mine, decisions that were mine, the adventures that were mine, etc.  It was all mine!

Me: What were some of the hard times of your singleness?  What were some of the great times?

Kelly: A hard time of singleness for me was when God revealed whom He wanted me to marry and then having to wait (5 years to date, 2 more until marriage) for that time to come.  Within that time it was the hardest to be single!  I would go through ups and downs in the trusting and waiting.  I would believe some days and not others.  I would pity myself some days and be excited about this revelation other days. Some great times were in college, never dating anyone and pouring out my time and life for reaching high school kids with the gospel and living in community with some girlfriends in the city (“Daisy Girls”) while intentionally seeking God and relationships with our neighbors!  So many significant memories in those times!

Me: Why do you think God incorporated a longer season of singleness in your story than some of your peers?

Kelly: Hmmm, I’m not sure.  I read in a book years ago now, (quite paraphrased) that it’s easy to string a single person along and say there must be something God is working out in you and so you must surrender, etc.… that kind of encouragement, or once you let go of the thought of marriage you’ll meet the one! The book went on to say that, “No. Marriage is designed by God and so is singleness.  One isn’t in preparation for the other, they just are.  You’re single because God has it for you to be single.  You’re married because God has it for you to be married.”  Having that understanding helped me to embrace being single and gain a better idea of the purpose of each season.  Both, no matter where you are, single or not, are purposeful and intentional simply because that’s where God has you.  Both are wonderfully good. Outside of that thought though, I think both my husband and I would say we needed to grow relationally, personally, emotionally…but then I think about when I had our son and I remember thinking more holistically, maybe it was more about the timing of our son’s life?  Maybe it had nothing to do with us and what we may have been waiting on/for, but more about the legacy God wanted to use us to put into motion and He had the whole picture in mind.

Me: What advice would you give to those who are waiting on God’s best and desire not to settle in their relationship choice?

Kelly: I would say, while it’s easy, like super easy, to compare and want what another has, waiting is the best.  You’re single because that’s what God has for you.  Your friend is married because that’s what God has for them.  When you release the comparison, freedom comes.  Freedom to be you, in the circumstance He created you to be in for that time.  Don’t settle for anything but what God wants for you.  He’s made you a certain way.  Be patient for the one God will use to refine the crap out of you and bring out the best in you.  Pray for that someone to see you as God sees you and pray the same for yourself, that you’d see them as God sees them.

 

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Kelly Evans has been married for a little over 2 years and has a son who is 1.5 years old.  She is owner and operator of KRA Photography.  She is from Monterey, CA but has called Cleveland home for the past 9 years.  She loves spending time with others and exploring new places!

Blog Series: Encouragement from Marrieds to Singles (Jennifer Branch)

Me: When looking back on your time of singleness what would you do differently now that you are married?

Jennifer: I would look to be single for God. To live purposefully as a single person.

Me: What life lessons have you learned from being married that could help singles in their season?  How can we prepare for marriage NOW?

Jennifer: A man or woman will not “complete” you.  Only Jesus can do that.  So if you are waiting to get married to “start” living for God or start walking in your purpose, you are in for a rude awakening.  Live now as though you are married – set apart for God.

Me: What tips would you give your daughters when preparing them for their single season?

Jennifer: If you are messed up you can’t be happy or make anyone else happy!

Me: How can you see God’s hand on your story?

Jennifer: I truly believe and received through many confirmations that Chris and I are supposed to be together. Although I know that God honors all marriage, I feel great knowing that God gave others the heads up about Chris and I.  We didn’t start off with the perfect story or our eyes completely set on God but we came to a place where we made some decisions.  We decided to pursue God with all we had, no matter what that looked like.

jenniferJennifer Branch is a wife, mom, creator, delegator, admin, business woman and stewards a plethora of gifts and talents. She enjoys organizing and crafts and diligently seeks God with all of her heart.

 

Blog Series: Encouragement from Marrieds to Singles (Gretchen Anderson)

Me: How long were you single?

Gretchen: 40 years

Me: When you think back on your time of singleness what is one word you would use to describe that time and why?

Gretchen: RICH. For me, I lived each day in the moment and I was never one to pine for a husband. I always felt young in every aspect and so I was in no hurry. It was the Lord that finally had me start desiring a husband around 37-38 years old. I believe that was His way of preparing me for my husband. In the 6-8 months before I knew who was going to be my husband, God told me to pray for him.

Me: What were some of the hard times of your singleness?

Gretchen: I think it was difficult always finding myself with the WRONG person because I didn’t know my self worth. I didn’t lack for confidence in who I was, but I did lack self-worth of who I was MADE to be in Christ.

Me: What were some of the great times?

Gretchen: Oh goodness, so many! I traveled extensively and had many adventures! One of the most impactful being a missions trip to Guatemala where God’s glory was truly manifested in supernatural ways! But the best times were in my continually deepening walk with the Lord as I pursued Him with all of my heart, obeyed His leading and I truly left the picking of the man He had for me in His hands to handle it in His timing as He pleased. I learned to fully trust God with this!

Me: Why do you think God incorporated a longer season of singleness in your story than some of your peers?

Gretchen: He had to prepare me for my husband in several ways. My husband is 12 ½ years younger than me so he would have been waaaaay too young for me prior to our marriage date! He also had to establish my walk with Him so that I would not fall into making my husband my idol instead of keeping God first. He had to establish my self-worth and identity in Christ as well. One of the ways God worked out some of the kinks in me and grew me immensely is by having me live with other people (host family, roommates), so that I learned to be more patient and selfless.

Me: What advice would you give to those who are waiting on God’s best and desire not to settle in their relationship choice?

Gretchen: Definitely keep waiting!! My husband and I always tell people that God is the BEST matchmaker. Let God work out your kinks, and let Him build your character so that you will be a better husband/wife to your future spouse! TRUST God that He loves you and wants the best for you, but He wants your whole heart in exchange. Trust Him with your heart. Trust Him more than you trust yourself. You’re a mess whether you know it or not (sin nature, sin habits) so your decisions are not pure, but His are!

Me: Is there anything else you want to add for my readers?

Gretchen: After I returned from the Peace Corps I was fervently crying out to the Lord in my desire to know Him and pursue Him more. As a result, God led me to Cleveland where I found my purpose in Him with a large community of believers. Coming to Cleveland took me much more deeper in Him than if I had stayed in the “desert”. I eventually met and married Glenn, the man that God had perfectly chosen for me here in Cleveland. We met on a missions trip to Guatemala, became very good (but very platonic) friends for 4 years. He was younger than me so I didn’t consider him in that way, but always thought he was such an amazing man of God. After 4 years of friendship, God revealed to his heart that I was the one for him and at that moment, his heart was flooded with love for me. When he told me I was the one, I was truly shocked, but knew he was much more than I ever thought I could have. 4 ½ months later we were married and are still blissful together 6 years later. My husband and I are foster parents and our ministry is working closely with refugees as well, building relationships, helping them adjust, etc… We have 2 beautiful foster children that we believe the Lord has said will be ours one day. That word has been confirmed over and over again. He is NOT a man that He would lie!

Gretchen Anderson speaks Spanish as her first language as a result of living in Mexico the first 5 years of her life. Over the course of her life she’s held down a ga-zilliion jobs that ranged from working at a gun store to being an ESOL teacher!   She loves athletics and has ran several triathalons. She moved around a lot before settling down in Cleveland, OH where she eventually met, befriended and married her hunk of a husband! Now they enjoy being foster parents to two adorable little boys and look forward to the next adventure God has to offer.

 

Blog Series: Encouragement from Marrieds to Singles (Candra Evans)

We are starting off our new series “Encouragement from Marrieds to Singles” with Mrs. Candra Evans!  I have been so honored to have connected with Candra and so inspired by her faith and perseverence.  There are not many I can say I look up to on this spiritual path however she definitely made the cut!  Her tenacity and humility count her as one who has  “Pressed toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”.  Please show her some love in the comments below and by visiting her blog (see bio).  Thanks!

Me: How long were you single?

Candra: I always say eighteen years considering that I wanted love and marriage since I graduated high school. I presumed that meeting my future husband would happen in college and we would be married and pursuing our careers together soon after. God blessed me to marry at the sweet age of 36.

Me: When you think back on your time of singleness what is one word you would use to describe that time and why?

Candra: Uncertainty – As the years came and went, I found myself unsure of an answered prayer. I was unsure if marriage was part of God’s plan for my life. I was unsure of how I would face the world as a single woman of a certain age. Many times I felt insecure in my faith and my worth as a woman.

Me: What were some of the hard times of your singleness? What were some of the great times?

Candra: Some of the most difficult times was being filled with the hope of love, only to find that yet again, it was not meant to be. There were online dating disappointments and the holiday embarrassments of telling relatives that you don’t have a special someone. I recall not feeling so bad about it, until taking in the stunned gazes.

Glory be to God that when I allowed it, great times came in abundance. It took being firm about being positive. That wasn’t easy, but because my heart was open to it, God strengthened me by the power of His Spirit. In military like fashion I forged a bond with the Holy Ghost. I declared that I would live and declare the glory of God. In this season I found my purpose, I had fun with friends, and I took every opportunity to try something new. I discovered so much about myself and before I knew it, I was thriving.

Me: Why do you think God incorporated a longer season of singleness in your story than some of your peers?

Candra: Good question. In my uncertainty phase I asked myself this often. Was it something I did? Did I disobey God somehow? Then I gained a better understanding of grace and realized that I could never be “good enough”. There have been many benefits of getting married at this age. I am wiser. My life in Christ has direction. I have a greater appreciation for my marriage. Most of all, I am able to help others in their longer season of singleness.

Still, I always come back to this bottom line. My resolve is that my life is not my own. I entrusted my life to God and through my pain God has been glorified many times over. Whatever happens God allows for my best interest. It was better for me to marry at 36. Now that I have my desire, I can affirm that God got it right. He did this thing better than I ever could have on my own.

Me: What advice would you give to those who are waiting on God’s best and desire not to settle in their relationship choice?

Candra: Be true to yourself and your convictions. Do not make decisions that will complicate your life and your future.

There are a large number of those who mourn because they gave years of their lives to the wrong person. They settled for what they knew in their heart was not true. They said it was better than being alone. They said that they could make it work. Now they grieve. And if not careful, allow that grief to push them into another compromised relationship.

Maintain your blessed place in God’s will and in His Kingdom. There is no place better.

There really isn’t.

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Candra Evans is a minister, blogger and creator of Abundantly You for Christian Singles. She began blogging about her own Christian single journey in 2009. After many years of waiting, God blessed her to marry Pastor Ron Evans, Jr. in 2011. They currently minister and live in Cincinnati, Ohio.